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Thread: Windshield wiper fluid in the engine coolant

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    Default Windshield wiper fluid in the engine coolant

    Hi all,

    I loaned my jeep out for a day because that person didn't have a ride. Anyways, she mentioned I was out of washer fluid and she mentioned that she filled the reservior to the top, but no fluid was coming out. After taking a look at things, I noticed my overflow reservior for the engine coolant had a nice blue fluid in it.

    The egine was already run so now I am circulating a diluted antifreeze +the antifreeze windshield wiper fluid.

    Obviously, I need to get a radiator flush done soon. How much damage can/will/has this caused so far? I noticed that my engine temp is where it should be.

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    Registered tsconver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaInfinity View Post
    Hi all,

    I loaned my jeep out for a day because that person didn't have a ride. Anyways, she mentioned I was out of washer fluid and she mentioned that she filled the reservior to the top, but no fluid was coming out. After taking a look at things, I noticed my overflow reservior for the engine coolant had a nice blue fluid in it.

    The egine was already run so now I am circulating a diluted antifreeze +the antifreeze windshield wiper fluid.

    Obviously, I need to get a radiator flush done soon. How much damage can/will/has this caused so far? I noticed that my engine temp is where it should be.
    Probably none, washer fluid is mostly alcohol, water and some detergent. nothing in there should hurt the engine other than effecting freeze / boil points. FLush it good and replace with good stuff and you should be good to go.

    And don't loan it to her anymore.
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    Probably no damage. I would drain and flush as soon as possible as the alcohol can damage the aluminum after long exposure.
    So you live in Whitefish! I spend three weeks up there every summer, mostly up at Kintla Lake. Like an idiot, I turned down a job in Kalispell last year, (I thought I was going to have to become conservator for my mother; not necessary as it turned out) but wish I had taken it now.
    Jim

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    Right Wing Extremist TrojanMan06's Avatar
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    Dont worry too much about it. You could run pure washer fluid or milk for that matter year round in a WARM environment. It doesnt cool like coolant but no damage will come from it. But ya do I coolant flush when you find time but dont worry about damage.

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    Thanks for the quick response guys! Is there a DIY guide for the grand cherokee out there? I am going to do the flush myself. The locals up here charge 150 bucks.

    As for whitefish, ya it is pretty awesome here. Lots of snow. I moved here about six months ago after living in Seattle for six years and before that Dallas. I am a native Texan from Dallas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaInfinity View Post

    As for whitefish, ya it is pretty awesome here. Lots of snow. I moved here about six months ago after living in Seattle for six years and before that Dallas. I am a native Texan from Dallas.
    I'm originally form Georgia and moved to California to go to school as this state use to give away college educations. And now, I,m just stuck here. I have been trying to find a way out ever since graduating (1986). Reminds me of a song about some hotel that you can check in to but you can never check out!

    I do not know of a DIY guide but it is fairly simple, the drain cock on the bottom of the radiator can be a pain, almost easier to take bottom hose off. Just flush out the engine and radiator with the hose and you will be fine.

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    My guess if the coolant reservoir is still blue fluid... none of the blue has mixed in with the rest yet. Drain and refill the reservoir with like a 75%/25% mixture if you are worried that you have diluted it at all.

    The bottle is not truly part of the actual cooling system... it's just a way to recover what would otherwise boil over and onto the ground. Just because the engine has been run, doesn't mean that more than a few teaspoons has mixed into the Jeeps coolant.

    When the engine coolant in engine and radiator gets hot, it expands... that in turn pushes coolant from the radiator out the hose by the radiator cap and over to the reservoir. When the engine cools, the coolant in the engine and radiator shrinks and if you have a sealed cooling system with no leaks, it will suck the fluid back through that same tube by the cap. If there are any leaks in the cooling system, there may not be enough vacuum to pull the fluid back from the reservoir... that is why you should always check the radiator level in the radiator, not the bottle. If your radiator gets too low, it will never pull fluid from a full reservoir.

    I personally would replace the fluid in the bottle and then not loose any sleep over it.

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    you should make her wear a shame tattoo for that...

    if it was an ethyl or glycol based washer fluid, you can leave it lol. the extra 12 ounces she put in won't severely affect your 50/50 mix (assuming that's what you have).

    If its a non glycol based (ie: non winter mix) then it may have dilluted the mix a bit - but still not enough to harm anything.

    as was already said, siphon out whats in the overflow resevior and call it a day. If you're due for a flush anyways, then go for it. I wouldn't worry too much about it. it would be worse IMO, filling it up with garden hose water than what she did. At least antifreeze is distilled water
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    3x vote to just siphon out the overflow bottle and fill with your favorite anti-freeze.
    Best Regards,

    John V.

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  10. #10

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    Holy Chit!

    Arent most reservoir caps labeled as "coolant" and "windshield fluid"?

    This chick shouldnt be driving period.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OffRoadFury View Post
    Holy Chit!

    Arent most reservoir caps labeled as "coolant" and "windshield fluid"?

    This chick shouldnt be driving period.
    Using similar logic you shouldn't be driving either...... after posting these questions here;

    Where are the bleeder screws located on my rear calipers??

    Or my personal favorite.... What is the round rubber like thing in the middle of my rear differential??

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    Quote Originally Posted by mako View Post
    Using similar logic you shouldn't be driving either...... after posting these questions here;

    Where are the bleeder screws located on my rear calipers??

    Or my personal favorite.... What is the round rubber like thing in the middle of my rear differential??
    Lighten up dude. At least he asked questions before doing something. No harm in that.
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    Did she remember to top off the blinker fluild too?
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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by mako View Post
    Using similar logic you shouldn't be driving either...... after posting these questions here;

    Where are the bleeder screws located on my rear calipers??

    Or my personal favorite.... What is the round rubber like thing in the middle of my rear differential??

    HAHA

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    Quote Originally Posted by AMCJeep401 View Post
    My guess if the coolant reservoir is still blue fluid... none of the blue has mixed in with the rest yet. Drain and refill the reservoir with like a 75%/25% mixture if you are worried that you have diluted it at all.

    The bottle is not truly part of the actual cooling system... it's just a way to recover what would otherwise boil over and onto the ground. Just because the engine has been run, doesn't mean that more than a few teaspoons has mixed into the Jeeps coolant.

    When the engine coolant in engine and radiator gets hot, it expands... that in turn pushes coolant from the radiator out the hose by the radiator cap and over to the reservoir. When the engine cools, the coolant in the engine and radiator shrinks and if you have a sealed cooling system with no leaks, it will suck the fluid back through that same tube by the cap. If there are any leaks in the cooling system, there may not be enough vacuum to pull the fluid back from the reservoir... that is why you should always check the radiator level in the radiator, not the bottle. If your radiator gets too low, it will never pull fluid from a full reservoir.

    I personally would replace the fluid in the bottle and then not loose any sleep over it.
    I agree 100%. The best thing would have been to do this as soon as he got it back, before the engine cooled off and had a chance to suck any in at all.
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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanMan06 View Post
    Dont worry too much about it. You could run pure washer fluid or milk for that matter year round in a WARM environment. It doesnt cool like coolant but no damage will come from it. But ya do I coolant flush when you find time but dont worry about damage.

    I wouldn't try the milk... turns into cottage cheese when warmed in that particular environment. THAT would be bad for not only your cooling system, but those who get close enough to smell the rank!:attn:

  17. #17

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    I inject windshield washer fluid directly into the TB with a little Nitomethane and alls good! So a little in the antifroozen will not hurt!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn J View Post
    Lighten up dude. At least he asked questions before doing something. No harm in that.
    Yes I would agree that asking questions on this forum is something we all have done in the past and will do in the future.

    But....... when Mr. OffRoadFury chimes in on mod and repair advise to everyone about everything, while being guiltly of actually knowing very little of the many of the things he posts about ~ That is a problem that no one gains from, and many are harmed by! :bopeyed:

    Would you take any brake repair advise at all from a person who doesn't know where the bleeder screws are on the rear brake calipers? Yet that hasn't stopped him from giving repair advise on brake issues. :touche:

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by mako View Post
    Yes I would agree that asking questions on this forum is something we all have done in the past and will do in the future.

    But....... when this frequent poster chimes in on mod and repair advise to everyone about everything, while being guiltly of actually knowing very little of the many of the things he posts about ~ That is a problem that no one gains from, and many are harmed by! :bopeyed:

    Would you take any brake repair advise at all from a person who doesn't know where the bleeder screws are on the rear brake calipers? Yet that hasn't stopped him from giving repair advise on brake issues. :touche:

    I too have noticed this trend...however everyone should proceed with caution listening to anyone over the internet...in this case the advice is along the lines of the guy that keeps posting about seafoam to fix everything and to use it every year or something like that...a jeep can drive its lifetime without once ingesting that stuff...

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    I couldn't agree more Ytouf, but if we as a online community allow the uniformed to post bad or ill advised information too frequently this information then may be taken as gospel by new members or those of us who truely are unaware.

    I suggest pointing out those who are guilty of this practice, correcting them when you can, and not allowing "internet opinions" to become facts. This forum will benefit from the posers and the ill informed being exposed for what they are. We shouldn't allow the uninformed serial posters to dominate tech forums. There are many informed posters here, with a wealth of information that can be helpful to all, please Speak Up!

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